Robert Ellsberg's The Franciscan Saints

Robert Ellsberg's The Franciscan Saints
Photo by Pam Spano

I love to read:  novels, history, biography, autobiography and of course, books about the Catholic faith.  As a convert, I’m always discovering something that I didn’t know.  The journey never seems to end and that’s okay.  It keeps my faith fresh.

Reading books about saints are always fascinating to me.  Ordinary people with extraordinary struggles emerge from the pages to teach me about my faith.  It’s always exciting to find a new saint that I’ve never heard of.

In Robert Ellsberg’s, The Franciscan Saints, the focus is on the 107 saints (blessed and venerable) that came from the Franciscan Order.  The book starts with the founder of the Friars Minor, St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) and closes with Sister Dorothy Hennessey (1913-2008), one of the many Franciscan saints I hadn’t heard of.

Image from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg. Photo by Pam Spano

Image from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg. Photo by Pam Spano

The layout of the book is in chronological order.  It also has a calendar of feast days and an alphabetical index of the saints in the back of the book.  This makes it easy to find a particular saint by calendar year or by name.

The synopsis of each saint is one or two pages long so this makes for an excellent daily read whether you read the book from start to finish or follow the calendar year.

Photo by Pam Spano from the book, The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg.

Photo by Pam Spano from the book, The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg.

One of my favorites in the book is Father Mychal Judge (1933-2001) who died in the attack on September 11, 2011.  The image of Fr. Judge being carried out of the rubble by his fellow firefighters has become one of the most recognized photos from that day.  Fr. Judge not only ministered to the firefighters, but to the homeless, alcoholics, AIDS patients, the gay community and anyone else who was considered an outcast.  He had his own struggles with alcohol.  He was listed as the first certified casualty of 9/11.

Robert Ellsberg’s The Franciscan Saints is a great book for yourself or to give to someone whether they are a cradle Catholic or just starting out in the faith.  It would also be a great book to share in a book club.  I highly recommend it.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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